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Tech at Night: FCC, Indecency, Google, Free Press

Tech at Night

Good evening. I’ll get started on tonight’s overview right away by taking a look at Free Press, and some new information pertaining to that neo-Marxist organization dug up by Big Government. Specifically, when co-founder Robert McChesney isn’t dreaming of a total government takeover of all the media in America, creating a “media reform” of single-payer, state-controlled news nationwide, he’s defending Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Why? Because Chavez has implemented “media reform,” of course.

That’s right, what Free Press wants for America is what Hugo Chavez has done in Venezuela. Ponder that the next time they tell you Net Neutrality is a harmless technical matter. And make sure to read the whole thing over there. Big Government really does do good work.

Free Press is actively seeking their goals in this country, too. They’ve got Lee Bollinger pushing for what would be phase one of “media reform,” Chavez style: a national bailout of left-wing media outlets. Make no mistake: McChesney loves Bollinger. That’s why McChesney even cites Bollinger’s book Images of a Free Press in McChesney’s neo-Marxist media manifesto The Problem of the Media: U.S. Communication Politics in the Twenty-First Century.

But don’t take my word for it, read Bollinger’s article and see if stuff like this scare you:

There are examples of other institutions in the U.S. where state support does not translate into official control. The most compelling are our public universities and our federal programs for dispensing billions of dollars annually for research. Those of us in public and private research universities care every bit as much about academic freedom as journalists care about a free press.

Do we want the news media to operate like universities, where politicized petty tyrants declare that “the science is settled” whenever politics demand such, and not only silence but de-fund and run out of business anyone holding competing viewpoints? Seriously? That’s Free Press for you, and that’s part of the end-goal of the expanding FCC’s role in the Net Neutrality debate. A free Internet undermines any state-run media apparatus in its ability to control American discourse.

Speaking of the FCC, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down “indecency” regulations of live television. A musician cussed during a live awards show, in a way that broadcasters could not have predicted. The FCC fined them anyway. So, the broadcasters sued and in Fox Television Stations v. FCC, the Second Circuit agreed with Fox Television Stations (with or joined by CBS, WLS, KTRK, KMBC, ABC, NBC Universal, Telemundo, NBC Television Affiliates, FBC Television Affiliates, CBS Television Network Affiliates, ABC Television Affiliates, and others) in what might be the biggest broadcast television grouping since the Battle of the Network Stars.

The Court said the finings are unconstitutionally vague and create a “chilling effect” beyond the intended obstructions, which is true. If networks and stations strictly obeyed the regulations, then live television in America would be impossible except on cable. And if Congress can make no law abridging speech, then I don’t see how an entity created by the Congress can do it, either, so well done Second Circuit.

One might feel sorry for the FCC these days, because now even Steny Hoyer is apparently calling them out. Even he seems to recognize that the runaway FCC is stepping beyond its legal authority in the Net Neutrality-driven Title II Reclassification process to deem-and-pass regulation of the Internet, when he claims that it is the Congress that has “the authority on this critical matter.”

Of course, our old “friend” Google is active in regulation. They’re all over that stuff, funding Net Neutrality promotion, letting an employee Andrew McLaughlin go work for Obama to speak as their voice from within the White House, the works. It could backfire though, because surprise: there’s now talk of new Search Neutrality regulations to come on the heels of any successful Net Neutrality process. Imagine if Google had to be neutral and transparent about its proprietary, world-beating search technology? That’s their bread and butter tech, and I can’t imagine that would make anyone at Google happy.

Consider that even though their internal manuals have been out for ages, describing the human control over who and what gets top rankings in searches (I read one over a year ago), it’s only now that Google admits it. They liked to pretend that their vaunted PageRank algorithms were the cold, neutral determiners of who gets the top Google hits, but no, Google employees do that.

For the FCC to come after that process, forcing it to be transparent and neutral, would truly be giving to the goose what the gander already endured.

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